Design styles explained

There is an endless list of different design styles.  Too many!  But this is what is making interior design interesting and exciting!  Here follows a few of the most popular styles we see and hear about lately.

1 Traditional

This is one of the oldest and most common design styles.  You will often see dark, finished wood. Most often furniture that is in the family for generations.  Rich colour palettes and a large quantity of accessories.  Furniture is comfortable. Everything matches and has a variety of patterns and textures like velvet, silk, and brocade. It is classical and formal. Nothing is harsh or irritating to the senses – rather warm and friendly. 

Do you know someone with a house in this style?  I am sure you do.

2 Contemporary

Contemporary means “of the moment:” and dates back to the 1970’s. Though it is a combination of different styles, it is constantly evolving and staying current. Where traditional style is formal and classical, Contemporary style focuses on functionality and simplicity.  Everything is well thought through and sleek. You will see curved lines, neutral colours (grey, brown, black, white). Natural light plays a major role but layering lighting (task-, accent- and general lighting) is as important.  

3 Modern

Think clean, crisp lines, simple colour palette and a mixture of glass, metal, and steel. Simplicity. No clutter and a minimum of accessories.  Neutral colours with maybe a pop of colour here and there. Square shapes and forms are dominant.  It may feel cold and stark to some.

4 Organic Modern

This is a fairly new term but originates from the early and mid-20th century.  This is all about layering natural colours and textures without using additional colours.  Uncluttered spaces, clean lines, and organic shapes. Natural fabrics. Eco-friendly comes to mind.

Light toned wood and lighting in black, brass or chrome are commonly used with this style. Open floor plans add to this casual style.

5 Modern Farmhouse

Recycled and revived(refreshed) furniture that is used in a modern way. It retains a fresh look yet allows for imperfections.  Natural textures and textiles combined with wood or galvanized steel.  Where a modern style might seem cold, the Modern Farmhouse style embraces warmth and do away with the rustic look of the farmhouse style. A bright look is created by using whites and pastels such as blue and green.

6 Eclectic

This is a combination of styles – a mixture of textures, time periods, styles, trends, and colours. Should I dare to say:  anything goes? 

Combine furniture in different styles such as antiques with modern. Use different patterns, textures, layers, and colours. Keep everything together with neutrals and keep it casual.

7 Industrial

Yes, you are correct, we refer to the raw factory-like style which may seem masculine if you do not combine the metal, wood, and leathers with neutrals.

Think urban loft, warehouse, exposed bricks, beams, high ceilings and metal light fixtures. Add edginess in the form of abstract art

8 Coastal

Also known as Hamptons style or beachy style.  Immediately blues, sand and white colours comes to mind bringing natural elements of the ocean inside.  Whitewashed woods and cane furniture.  Whitewashed walls or shiplap paneling. Airy window coverings.  Lots of natural light and open plan living creates a relaxed vacation feeling.

 9 Mid-Century Modern

This distinctive style from the 1950’s and 1960’s is one of the most well-known styles.  It stood the test of time – think egg shaped chair for example. Interior compliments the flat roofs, asymmetrical profiles, glass walls, open floor plans and sharp lines. Clean lines with a combination of manmade materials such as plastic, vinyl and acrylic – no naturals. Vibrant colours and graphic patterns. Orange, brown, and mustard yellow are often used. Clean lines, minimal fuss and focusing on functionality.

10 Scandinavian

This style is a true tribute to the design style of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. After the second World War, they took comfort to a design that is close to nature and is uncomplicated. 

It has a minimalistic style with soft, neutral hues and lots of texture to add warmth. Furniture design is simple and functional with interesting lines that makes it look like work of art.  Soft colours are used and woods are light-toned.  Pops of colour are only used in the form of art. 


Ten distinctive styles – where does your home fit in?  Most probably the exterior and interior of your home compliment or reflect your wardrobe….  Shiny or leather shoes, neutrals or bold. Surprisingly true.

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